GPI-anchored proteins do not reside in ordered domains in the live cell plasma membrane

Eva Sevcsik, Mario Brameshuber, Martin Fölser, Julian Weghuber, Alf Honigmann, Gerhard Schütz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Citations (Scopus)


The organization of proteins and lipids in the plasma membrane has been the subject of a long-lasting debate. Membrane rafts of higher lipid chain order were proposed to mediate protein interactions, but have thus far not been directly observed. Here we use protein micropatterning combined with single-molecule tracking to put current models to the test: we rearranged lipid-anchored raft proteins (glycosylphosphatidylinositol(GPI)-anchored-mGFP) directly in the live cell plasma membrane and measured the effect on the local membrane environment. Intriguingly, this treatment does neither nucleate the formation of an ordered membrane phase nor result in any enrichment of nanoscopic-ordered domains within the micropatterned regions. In contrast, we find that immobilized mGFP-GPIs behave as inert obstacles to the diffusion of other membrane constituents without influencing their membrane environment over distances beyond their physical size. Our results indicate that phase partitioning is not a fundamental element of protein organization in the plasma membrane.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6969
Pages (from-to)6969
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2015


  • CD59 Antigens/chemistry
  • Carcinoma/metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Membrane/metabolism
  • Glycosylphosphatidylinositols/chemistry
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments
  • Lipid-Linked Proteins/chemistry
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary


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